camino de santiago

Towns Along The Way – “H”

Onwards and upwards in the Camino alphabet, we go. We must be near the end! The next letter we meet is H and there are a few. One is in France, four are in Castilla y Leon, and two are in Galicia. Again, please comment if you have stayed in any of these towns.

Honto / Huntto (map)

I have seen many variations in the spelling of this place name, however, this is not so much a town but an area in the Saint Michel region of France. You will pass it within an hour of leaving St. Jean Pied de Port if you choose to walk the Napoleon route. While there are bars and accommodation in Honto (gronze.com), it’s probably best to keep focused on the climb ahead and celebrate when you reach Orrison a further 3km up the road. The road up to Honto is entirely on asphalt but it leaves the road shortly after and gets a lot steeper to Orrison. Enjoy the scenery also as the road gets higher!

Hornillos del Camino (map)

Hornillos is situated about 20 km from Burgos and is in the meseta region of Spain. The meseta is known for being flat, with roads lasting long into the distance. The towns are few and far between and often are unremarkable. Hornillos would be one of these unremarkable towns; it seems as if history left it behind. While it has plenty of accommodation (gronze.com) I prefer to stay in the next town, Hontanas, a further 10 km up the road. The photo above gives you an idea of the vastness of the meseta plain with Hornillos in the distance. The picture was taken from Alto del Meseta some 2 km away.

Hontanas (map)

Hontanas is also situated some 30 km from Burgos. The name is derived from a number of natural springs (fontanas) that can be found in the locality. If you choose to walk the 31km from Burgos (like I have), don’t let the flat landscape deter you but keep on walking. It is a favourite of many pilgrims! Hontanas is built in a valley so it is very difficult to spot the town at first but when you see the church steeple you will be surprised. I have stayed in the municipal albergue at the edge of town on both occasions that I have been here, but there are other albergues (gronze.com) so it is worth looking around.

Hospital de Órbigo (map)

There are number of towns that I have passed through but wished to have stayed for longer. La Faba is one and Hospital de Orbigo is another. Situated between Leon and Astorga, it is a major stopping point for many pilgrims. The town is home to the Puente de Orbigo, a long stone medieval bridge. There is also so much history behind the bridge and the town. There are just over 1000 people living in Hospital de Orbigo. You have quite a good selection of albergues here also (gronze.com) with Albergue Verde being one I would recommend. On leaving the town, the road splits in two. One takes you along the main road, while the other takes you off-road through Villares de Orbigo.

Hospital da Cruz (map)

Hospital da Cruz is a rural hamlet located between Portomarin and Palas de Rei in Galicia. It is just over 80 km from Santiago and has just under 50 people living there. The town has a municipal albergue (gronze.com) and a number of bars for a mid-morning cerveza or cafe con leche!

Hospital da Condesa (map)

Yet another town named Hospital. It’s getting difficult to distinguish between the three! Condesa is located just 6 km from O Cebreiro. It has a population of just under 50 and again is a rural-based hamlet. There is a municipal albergue (gronze.com) and bars with good reviews. While you pass through, you will notice the Church of San Xoan (Saint Joan in English). From here on, you have a steady ascent to Alto do Poio.

Las Herrerías de Valcarce (map)

And the final town starting with H is Las Herrerias de Valcarce. Las Herrerias is situated between Villafranca del Bierzo and O Cebriero. The placename means The Blacksmiths in English. Interesting. The town is right beside the Valcarce river and is the last stop before the road climbs to La Faba. There are about 39 people living here at present. Myself, I haven’t stayed here, preferring to pass through quickly in 2012. There is an albergue here along with a number of pensions (gronze.com). Shortly after you leave Las Herrerias, you leave the asphalt road to La Faba. It’s a tough climb but it is well well worth it. Enjoy it!

My next post in this series will focus on Itero de la Vega, Linzoáin, Larrasoaña, Lorca, Los Arcos, Logroño, Lédigos and León. See you then!

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